Virgin River season 2, episode 5 recap – what happened in “Can’t Let Go”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: November 27, 2020 (Last updated: December 5, 2023)
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Netflix series Virgin River season 2, episode 5 - Can't Let Go


“Can’t Let Go” sees Mel’s personal problems persist, and Jack’s PTSD is eating away at him, as he’s struggling to come to terms with memories of the war with his ex-marine friends joining him for a few days.

This recap of Netflix’s Virgin River season 2, episode 5, “Can’t Let Go” contains significant spoilers.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive. 

The opening 

Mel jogs with Stacey through the woods — she loves a jog this one. Stacey asks how Mel lives through the middle of nowhere, and it reminds her of Mark with all the hiking and adventures; she then brings up Mark’s memorial and the ring. Mel didn’t know about the memorial, so she is clearly hurt by it. Stacey then tries to justify her mother not inviting Mel by saying she didn’t like any woman Mark brought home and asks if their marriage would have lasted. Mel is offended and walked off. And it’s no surprise she walked off really; she was married to this bloke — Mel was not a random woman he brought home. “Can’t Let Go” sees Mel’s personal issue persist as the episode progresses. 

War memories

Jack is still suffering from his war memories while sleeping. His PTSD is giving him vivid night terrors. Charmaine wakes Jack up and tells him that her heart is racing. Doc checks up on her and tells Jack that he could use some rest as well as he looks stressed. 

Missing person report and Hope is jealous 

Connie hears a missings person report on the radio for Wes, and she’s instantly alarmed. Meanwhile, Muriel tells Hope that she and Doc have plenty in common. They sound like an official item — surely Hope should finish this nonsense by now? Doc tells Hope about the dance class he’s going to with Muriel. Hope feels bad about not helping him in the egg relay, but Doc insists the dance class is not a date and invites her to join. Doc must be enjoying all the attention he’s getting a little bit. 

Birth control prescription for Lizzie

Connie angrily approaches Mel about the birth control prescription she gave to Lizza, and she is fuming. Mel reminds her that she’s an adult and it’s the law for patient confidentiality; she feels Lizzie is a responsible adult, but Connie isn’t having it and tells her she’s going to speak to Doc about it. Feels like a useless complaint considering it’s lawful.

Mel doesn’t like the manipulation

Mel speaks to Jack about her engagement ring that Stacey wants. Jack tells Mel to give it some thought which irks her — he then tells her he has been sleeping on the couch near Charmaine as part of an agreement to stop spreading gossip. Mel tells Jack that she doesn’t like how Charmaine is using her to manipulate him. This is a valid point, but “Can’t Let Go” suggests Jack is an exhausted man and he does not have time for the dramas. 


Jack and Preacher reunite with their marine friends, which comes with increased masculinity and celebrations. They ask about Brady, which makes the conversation awkward. 

You have to treat Charmaine, Mel 

Doc talks to Mel about Charmaine. Mel believes she has been fired, but Doc reminds her she’s the only nurse practitioner around; he tells her that Charmaine has a slight arrhythmia. He wants Mel to sort out the treatment if she needs it. This is the last thing Mel needed.

Bringing up Iraq in a joke? Not the best idea 

The Marine friends go biking through various terrain. When Jack asks them to follow him, one of the crew named Zeke brings up Iraq which was meant to be a joke about Jack leading them, but it doesn’t land well. Later on, the men play American football and then have a bottle of beer. “Can’t Let Go” is trying to show how masculine these men are! One of Jack’s friends tells Jack that he should try “lockdown” Mel, but Jack brings up how she’s widowed and that Charmaine is pregnant. When he puts it like that, it’s easy to see how complicated it has become.

Dead husband talk 

Mel and Hope find more common ground in “Can’t Let Go”, but it’s a depressing common ground.

Mel tells Hope that her husband died a year ago. Hope tells her that her second husband passed away soon after they were married, and there are always reminders. Mel felt like moving to Virgin River would help, but it hasn’t as much as she thought it would.

A new dog 

Jack finds a dog by the lake, and he drops it off for Charmaine, so she has company. She is so happy with the dog and asks Jack what they should name the dog. Jack is not himself in “Can’t Let Go”, and it shows. A whole host of issues is affecting him, but it doesn’t help that Charmaine is slowly trying to establish romance between them. 

Connie can’t let it go regarding Wes 

Preacher meets Connie privately. She tells him that authorities are looking for Wes as he’s gone missing. Preacher tells her to let it go, but she can’t. Rather than avoid the conversation, Preacher tells Connie about Wes and his abusiveness to Paige after they got married. He’s probably hoping she lets it go, but this town loves to gossip!

Mel is dealing with two women she doesn’t want to deal with

Stacey tells Mel that she will marry again and asks about the engagement ring. She’s been persistent. Mel has to quickly leave the conversation to see Charmaine. She tells her she needs treatment for her blood sugar levels. Charmaine shows Mel the dog Jack gave her and claimed he felt guilty for not being around. Mel is getting it from both sides at the moment; her sister-in-law and Jack’s ex. 

Dance class drama 

At the dance class, Hope arrives, which annoys Muriel. Hope dances with the dance instructor and competes with Muriel who is dancing with Doc. The instructor tells Doc and Muriel that their dancing is sublime. He then tells Hope that she is too solo. Well, this backfired greatly.

Remembering Lonergan

The marines enjoy a campfire and beer (obviously). Zeke brings up Lonergan; this is the soldier that died in Jack’s arms. The group talks about what happened after he died and how tough it was. The conversation is eating away at Jack. 

Ricky and Lizzie 

Lizzie invites Ricky to a party and asks him to pick her up and arrange the booze. Ricky steals a bottle of tequila from the bar. After the party, Ricky and Lizzie drink together next to the river. The pair are slowly bonding. Lizzie asks Ricky if he has a girlfriend and calls him cute. Ricky explains that no-one sees him at school but then Lizzie kisses him and says, “I see you”. It’s a bit strange how this story has quickly changed; Lizzie seemed to have an interest in Brady, and now she’s interested in Ricky. Seems a bit of a strange flip.

The engagement ring 

Mel tells Jack about the engagement ring, and that Stacey is adamant that she wants it; she brings up how she and Mark had a rough year before he died and wonders if they would have ended. Jack is very neutral on the conversation, and it’s clearly irking Mel. Jack explains how grief never comes straight at you and that it’s circular. Mel concludes that if she can’t bring herself to give up the ring, then she shouldn’t because it is hers. She thanks Jack for the advice and calls him a good friend. I bet you deep down Jack is fuming at the sarcastic friendship comment. 

The ending

Stacey heard Mel talk about the ring to Jack and she’s packing up her things furiously. Mel says, “if I find love again,” which angers Stacey, stating that she’s already slept with someone; she believes that Mark would have wanted to keep the ring in the family. Mel disputes that claim and stands her ground. Stacey storms out. 

Meanwhile, Ricky tries to return the tequila to the bar, but Jack catches him. He offers to pay for it back, but Jack tells him to go home. 

As the episode ends, Jack rings Lonergan’s father and tells him that he served with his son as his sergeant. He apologizes and tells him he failed — “He deserved better”. However, the man on the phone reveals he is Lonergan’s brother and tells Jack that their parents are deceased. Jack bursts into tears. 

Virgin River season 2, episode 5 sees Mel’s personal problems persist, and Jack’s PTSD is eating away at him, as he’s struggling to come to terms with memories of the war with his ex-marine friends joining him for a few days. Chapter 5 demonstrates how the deep underlying issues are not going away for these characters, especially for Preacher, who has the Wes situation coming over the horizon.

The Virgin River Diaries
  • Preacher introduces herself to Jamie. She’s impressed with his cooking as they start bantering with each other. The flirting is through the roof. 
  • Calvin tells Brady that they are producing Fentanyl at the farm they are buying. Brady doesn’t sound open to the idea, but Calvin tells him he wants him to take over when he retires.

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